June Wrap Up! ’20

Wrap Up

All the months are blending together, this month was a bit hotter than the last, but that’s all I can give ya about it. These are all the books I’ve read in the past thirty or so days:

Books

The Inheritance & Other Stories

The Inheritance & Other Stories by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm – This is a short story collection containing works by the same woman under different pen names. She one of my favorite authors of all-time, and over the past few years I’ve absorbed her Hobb Realm of the Elderlings series into my psyche. This short story collection contains a few stories set in that world, and were the last in-world materials I had yet to read, so I picked it up with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, because we’ve been buddy reading almost the entire over-arching world together at this point! After this we’re gonna have to find another huge series to lose ourselves in, will need something to fill the void.

The three Hobb stories in this I rather liked – They were between four and three stars each, which considering my track record with short story collections is pretty good. The Lindholm stories though were unfortunately not as palatable to me. There were a couple I liked, but most of them were either just ok or I actively disliked them. Emily-reads-short-stories-syndrome strikes again, I guess.

Overall though, this was a decent collection. The Hobbs stories were definitely my favorite bits. 3.5 stars

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – This is a bit outside my typical genre, as I’m not a huge literary fiction reader. It follows an elderly man after he passes away and meets five people in heaven. Kinda self-explanatory. I feel like this story was written to pull at the heartstrings throughout, but personally it didn’t really pull me in. I could see the elements that were to be really striking, but I don’t know, I wasn’t really affected, except for when the main character was talking to one specific person. I feel like I wasn’t the target audience for this. But regardless, I did overall enjoy it. I’m glad I read it, both because it’s so well-known and now I’m in the know, and because my mother in law loves this book and now we have one more thing to talk about together. 3.5 stars

Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White and & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I picked this book up on audio this month! This follows the first son of the United States and a prince of Wales in a hate-to-love romance. I thought it was cute. The hype for this one definitely affected my judgement though. This book was listed in many people’s favorites from last year and I can totally see why, but because of that I guess I had my expectations a bit too high. Regardless though, I did rather enjoy it for what it was. 3.75 stars

If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio – Again, an audio book! This book follows a group of college students attending a prestigious arts college, studying Shakespeare, and a murder. The narration of this was fantastic, I really liked the way Shakespearean verse was interjected throughout the book, and the way it paralleled Shakespeare’s writing at times. This book really pulled me in, and I found myself wanting to reread all the plays that I read back in high school, convinced I’d appreciate them more this time around. This is again a bit outside my usual genre, but man, that did not stop me from really loving this. The only reason I’m knocking a half star is I was able to see the plot twists coming, so some of the wow factor was dissipated for me. But even so, I seriously recommend this book, it was fantastic. Definitely my favorite of the month. I don’t have a physical copy of this as I listened to it on Scribd, but I gotta get one, man. I can definitely see myself rereading this. 4.5 stars

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I picked this up because I recently purchased the prequel, as seen in this month’s haul. I haven’t actually read these books since I originally read them back in 2010 or so, when they had first come out. I’ve watched the movies multiple times but never actually reread the books. So with this new one coming out I wanted to refresh myself on the source material. When I originally read this at around 20 years old-ish, I gave it a five star rating. I remember loving it. This time around, it got a four. I think it’s just from 1, being a decade older and 2, having read more and more books and being able to better define what I’m looking for in a five star book. So I definitely enjoyed this reread, but I feel like I was able to give it a more realistic rating for my opinion of it. Catching Fire is next, hopefully this coming month. 4 stars

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks – I FINALLY FINISHED IT. I’ve been reading this book for literally years. Why? I don’t know. This book was basically always on the back-burner. I really liked it, mind you, but it always took a back seat, perhaps unfairly. Out of the four books I’ve read in this series, this is probably the one I liked the least. And by ‘least’ I mean it got a 4.25 when all the others got a 5, so take that as you will.

This series follows a slew of characters and involved a magic system based on the visible light spectrum. Users of this system are able to convert light into physical matter, forming it into whatever their heart desires, but the more the user does the magic, the closer it brings them to death. This series also has politics and war and religious factions and all sorts of things. I love it. And it’s funny! 4.25 stars

~~~

Manga

Shaman King, Vol. 5: The Abominable Dr. Faust

Shaman King vols 5-6 by Hiroyuki Takei – Continued this series a bit this month, I really need to pick up the pace. Some new characters were introduced in these volumes, one of them being an necromancer that was way more intense than I remember in the filtered anime that came out a while ago. So I’m rather enjoying this, the plot is getting more and more involved with each volume. 4 and 3.75 stars

Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, Vol. 3 (Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, #3)

Kakuriyo vol 3 by Waco Ioka – This was just as good as the first two volumes, and I’m solidly invested at this point. This series is very Spirited Away-y, only a bit darker and more involved. It follows the main character, who gets pulled into the spirit world and is made to be an ogre spirit’s wife. She isn’t having it though, and strives to be independent within the world she’s found herself. I really like it, and wrote a blabber on vols 1 and 2, in case you’re interested. 4 stars

Takane & Hana, Vol. 3

Takane & Hana vol 3 by Yuki Shiwasu – Continued this series a bit too! I’m still luke warm on this one but so far it’s still sweet and innocent, which is what I’m after. There’s a sizeable age gap in this, so it could potentially go weird. For now though, it’s pretty good, and I plan to continue it. 3.75 stars

Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 1 (Ajin: Demi-Human, #1)

Ajin vol 1 by Tsuina Miura – This is definitely an interesting manga. I’m only one volume in so far and I’m rather intrigued. It takes place in a world where occasionally, someone doesn’t die when they’re supposed to. They find out they can’t die, and therefore that they’re an Ajin. In this world, Ajin are seen as not human, as a different species slowly infiltrating the human race. And thing is, until someone dies… and then doesn’t, nobody knows if they’re one of them or not. It’s really fascinating, and deals with some heavy topics. 3.5 stars

5 Centimeters per Second (5 Centimeters per Second, #1-2)

5 Centimeters per Second by Makoto Shinkai – This is a one shot manga, following a pair of childhood friends as they grow up and grow apart. It had a sort of melancholy feel to it, and the author did a really good job at showing how the characters subtly pined for each other as they lost contact. I really enjoyed the emotional elements to this. The plot though was a bit sedated. Nothing really happened except the passage of time, and the ending was ultimately unsatisfying to me, but then again maybe that was the point. This manga was based on the animated movie I believe which I haven’t seen yet but I would like to. 3 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol. 3

Blue Exorcist vol 3 by Kazue Kato – This series is definitely getting more interesting with each volume. It follows a young man who discovers he’s the son of satan in a world where demons are routinely exorcised. The main character decides to take control of his situation and join the exorcism academy, set on defeating satan. It has a lot of action elements, some good character development, and even a bit of humor here and there. I really like it. 3.75 stars

Absolute Boyfriend, Vol. 2

Absolute Boyfriend vols 1-6 by Yuu Watase – This is essentially a quintessential shojo manga. I read the whole series this month, and it was a blast from the past and so, so very entertaining. This series follows a teenage girl who orders a robot boyfriend on a free trial, and then doesn’t return him quickly enough and is then stuck trying to pay him off. The AI in this is very life-like and without knowing he’s a robot, you’d never be able to tell.

I gotta tell ya, this series is like, absolutely insane. It’s completely over the top absurd and funny and really, don’t go into this expecting an actual serious plot. Just go with the flow and take each plot development with humor and you’ll love it. It’s. Nuts. 3.5-4.5 stars each


Other Stuff

  • I went to the bookstore this month! Like three times! Though I have a feeling it’s a luxury that’ll go away again. Spikes are a thing because nobody feels like taking preventative measures, apparently.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 134/100
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
    March – Pass
    April – Pass
    May – Pass
    June – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 235

And that’s it! I actually read books this month (and bought books too, which hasn’t happened in a while). I’m glad I’m actually in the mood for novels again, I missed them.

Happy reading!

2 thoughts on “June Wrap Up! ’20

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